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By Jason Stipp and Robert Johnson, CFA | 12-07-2012 09:00 AM

Job Growth Remarkably Steady, Frustratingly Slow

In the face of superstorm concerns, fiscal cliff woes, and other worries, job growth has been notably steady--but decidedly slow, says Morningstar's Bob Johnson.

Jason Stipp: I'm Jason Stipp for Morningstar.

We got the government employment report for November on Friday, and despite concerns that Superstorm Sandy would really hurt the number, the figures came in better than expectations, with 146,000 jobs added to the economy. The unemployment rate ticked down a couple of [basis] points to 7.7%.

Here to talk about the numbers and what this report means for the strength of the employment market is Morningstar's Bob Johnson, our director of economic analysis. Thanks for joining me, Bob.

Bob Johnson: Great to be here.

Stipp: So, we talked about how Superstorm Sandy could really wreak havoc with the numbers. When we got the report this morning, and the government went out of its way to say, "Hey, the Superstorm didn't actually affect the numbers. We got the same number of surveys back that we normally get." What's your read on that?

Johnson: I think they probably did. I'm sure they are not lying about it. And I'm sure they said it was in normal parameters--that means they could have been a few short, but it means that people sent in the data like they were supposed to, so they could do their work on the data and do their analysis.

It didn't mean that the storm had zero impact on the jobs market. I still believe, as good as the report was at a 146,000, that if the weather had been better, it would have been even better than that number.

And the government wasn't saying that. The government said that they would have to wait another month to say what the weather impact was on the number of jobs when they got to break the data down by statistical areas and by state. Then they'll be able to tell a little bit more.

But what they said is they were able collect all the data, and it was relatively easy, and hence we got a decent report.

Stipp: So, unlike some other reports that we've seen, no manual adjustments to this report?

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